When I started painting watercolour, I struggled the most with animals. I didn’t have the patience (or brush control!) for realistic-looking animals, but I didn’t want to make something that looked cartoonish.
After a lot of experimentation, I’ve found a method that works. Here’s how I simplify the shapes and focus on contrast to create fun, cheerful fish in just 10 minutes.
What you will need
- Watercolour paper
- Watercolour paints
- Round brush (medium and small for details)
- Water jars
- Paper towels
- Prussian Blue
- Payne’s Grey
All the paints I use are from Winsor and Newton, but you don’t need these exact shades. I’m using blues, but I’d recommend sticking to one colour scheme.
Painting watercolour fish – step by step
- Create a really light, watery mix of your lighter shade, and paint a loose oval shape. Leave a little indent for the mouth to give your creature fishy lips!
- While the area is still wet, load up with a darker paint mix and use back and forth motions to create a tail fin, allowing it to touch into the main body and blend out naturally for a wet on wet effect. Use smaller strokes across the top for a fin, leaving a little white space in places for texture.
- Use a medium-dark shade and run your brush along the underside of the body to create a shadow. Add a smaller fin underneath.
- While the body is still wet, touch the tip of your brush to the paint to create little dots that look like scales. Allow it to dry.
- If you want more scale details, add some small, dark dots on dry. Then use your darkest shade to create a small round eye.
- Repeat the process with as many shapes as possible to create a whole shoal of fish.
That’s how to paint a fun collection of fish in watercolour! Want to try more painting ideas?
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